The beautiful Berlin apartment of Quiet Studios interior designer

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios creative director Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com

Quiet Studios

The beautiful Berlin apartment of interior designer Daniela Francheschini

My favourite thing about sitsitso, is that I get to meet so many magnificent and fascinating people. Passionate entrepreneurs who do not fear their own dream-led pathways. People creating beauty where they go. People like Daniela Franceschini – designer and creative director of the interior design studio; Quiet Studios.

Dreamy Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director
Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer

Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com

A couple of weeks ago I visited Daniela at her home in Berlin’s Neukölln neighbourhood. The house, which dates back to 1905, is a stunning structure with original parquet floors and pressed ceilings. Two genuine ceramic stoves still heat up the home – a perfect setting to learn a little more about her story, and how Quiet Studios came about.

Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com
Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Daniela grew up in Spain and studied fashion design in Madrid. A masters degree in sustainability at ESMOD brought her to Berlin where she did her thesis together with an NGO from Kathmandu, focusing on the development of hand-craft skills like basket weaving among communities in Nepal. She later continued this focus on sustainability, working within the trade of sustainable, hand-crafted goods in Morocco.

Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini

Berlin studio of Quite Studios' creative Daniela Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com
Berlin studio of Quite Studios' creative Daniela Home of Quiet Studios' creative director, Daniela Franceschini | sitsitso.com

Then one day, a friend asked her to design the interior of their café and concept store in the south of Spain. Working with a tight budget, Daniela sought out creative design solutions. Opting for recycling, up-cycling and hand-craft, discarded wood and sleepers became stools and shelves. Soon WOODS: foods & goods, would be the first of many successful interior design projects to be added to Quiet Studio’s growing body of work.

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

Berlin apartment of Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.comDreamy Berlin apartment of Quite Studios creative director | sitsitso

Daniela’s background in sustainability makes her sensitive to human nature and its relation to interiors and design. The human is always at the centre of her design approach; how it affects one’s mood and behaviour, how you move and interact in a space, as much as one’s socio-cultural background.

Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com
Beautiful apartment of Berlin interior designer | sitsitso.com

The work of Quiet Studio has an understated elegance that find it’s origin in the honesty of the space and the integrity of the pieces. Daniela chooses objects with character. Something that tells a story other than the mass market aesthetic of Ikea-clad compositions. She likes to scour antique and second hand markets – finding pieces with interesting narratives; like a (rather ironic) print of naked dancing ladies she uncovered in Morocco.

Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Visiting Quiet Studios's creative director at her home in Berlin | sitsitso.com
Interior designer's beautiful Berlin home | sitsitso.com

Visiting Quiet Studios's creative director at her home in Berlin | sitsitso.com

Daniela understands luxury as an honest and intellectual process instead of a mere collection of commodities. She seeks to bring a soul into her spaces; to bring about the voice that already lays petrified within the walls. Over restaurant in London, beautifully illustrates this dialogue of perfection; a result of her true mies-van-der-rohe-minimalist approach.

Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com
Home of Daniela Franceschini - Quite Studios' creative director | sitsitso.com

To me Daniela’s home is testament to more than her penchant for finding beautiful things. It illustrates her ability to design timeless interiors. Spaces to be lived in, experienced and enjoyed. Environments where you feel at once welcome and at home. Places, you’ll look forward to visiting again.

Quiet Studios - Berlin Interior design studio | sitsitso.com
Quiet Studios - Berlin Interior design studio | sitsitso.com
Daniela Franceschini from Quite Studios in Berlin
 Quiet Studios in Berlin
WEBSITE: QUIET STUDIOS  |  STORY + PHOTOS:  BARBARA CILLIERS

As part of my new series on entrepreneurs and creatives, I’ll be asking each of these mavericks some questions about being their own boss. I hope this will inspire those who want to do their own thing, and give them a little nudge towards finding their own paths.

What’s the best thing about being your own boss:

Daniela:

“The free creative direction, being able to stay true to yourself and the freedom to do things you believe in. And also the space and flexibility to learn through the mistakes you may make along the way.”

What’s the hardest thing about being on your own:

Daniela:

“To always have to find new clients, to be innovative, to keeping up with trends and to stay motivated and inspired.”

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THE WEEPING FIG i.e FICUS BENJAMINA

Close-up of branches from the weeping fig, on sitsitso.com

THE WEEPING FIG

i.e Ficus Benjamina

 

With the cheerless winter lingering on, we’ve been enjoying the company of our leafy friends at home and so the choice for this weeks houseplant post was as much inspired by it’s personality as by it’s name.

The Weeping Fig is a handsome character; it’s downward drooping branches and glossy pointed leaves giving it a moody charm. And with the whole of Berlin still gloomy and grey, the weeping fig is both a splash of happy greenery as well as a reminder of the melancholy of winter.

Dried leaves of the ficus benjamina or weeping fig
Dried ficus leaf of the weeping fig

 

The Benjamina (as it’s scientifically called) is part of the ficus genus and a popular choice for a houseplant, due to it’s relative ease in care. The reason I call it moody is because this beautiful tree can be quite temperamental. The weeping fig is rather intolerable of disturbances, and will quickly shed all of it’s leaves if you dare to move it. A protesting tree can look rather bare and dull, as if winter has find it’s way indoors.

 

Weeping fig or ficus benjamina on sitsitso

Close-up of leaves from the weeping fig tree
Beautiful leaves of the weeping fig on sitsitso.com

 

Weeping figs enjoy bright areas with a bit of sun and shade, so a spot near a west or east facing window should provide a good setting. Once in it’s place, let the ficus settle, and only move it if you have to. Benjamina’s are sensitive to colds and drafts so best not place it in areas with fluctuating temperatures. Make sure your pot drains quickly and well. The ficus dislikes soggy soil so be sure to water it less often during the colder months.

 

Close-up of leaves from a weeping fig on sitsitso.com
Ficus leaf ensemble on sitsitso.com

 

Much like introverts, Benjamina’s are great company as long as you don’t expect them to go anywhere. They will silently grow without any bother, and will look great doing so throughout the year.

 

Names: Weeping Fig, Benjamin Fig or Ficus tree
Family: Moraceae, native to Asia and Australia
Water: Moderate watering in Summer, less during Winter

Leaves dropping from over-watering: Fallen leaves fold easy
Leaves dropping from under watering: Fallen leaves are crispy

Soil: Fast draining soil mix
Prune: After Summer and before Spring
Toxicity: Mildly toxic to cats & dogs
Propagation: During Summer months by placing branch-cuttings into soil 

 

Post-inspired Etsy finds

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eco-friendly christmas with plants and lights

Candles in my home made christmas wreath

 

PLANTS AND LIGHT

for an eco-friendly christmas

 

This year, in honour of tip number thirteen on Plastic Free Friday, I decided to create a festive atmosphere without buying any plastic or cheaply made christmas decorations. My aim was to keep it as green and eco-friendly as possible and to try and use plants wherever I can. Combining them with lights and candles also meant that my christmas-plant-ensembles were perfectly suited for this months Urban Jungle Bloggers theme; Plants and Light

 

Christmas Wreath

My mom used to have advent candles and this year I wanted to partake in the tradition by making my own. An advent wreath is a Lutheran tradition where four candles–that signify the four weeks leading up to Christmas–is placed in a circle (often combined with an evergreen wreath) to symbolise the eternity of God. The candles are then lit every Sunday, starting with the first candle on the 1st advent and finally lighting all four on the final Sunday before christmas.

 

eco-friendly home made advent wreath with real plants

 

For my own advent wreath, I wanted an eco-friendly option that was made from real plants, so that I could use it every year or use the plants elsewhere once christmas was over. I decided to get four small plants that I could later repot. I positioned them in a circle with four candles and filled the open spots with chestnuts and pine cones. For the base I used a round baking tray and placed it in this pretty copper bowl – a previous christmas gift from my mum.

 

Christmas Lights

Maybe you’ll recognise my glass jars from last month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers post on plant pots. Well, I decided to give them a christmas spin by wrapping some christmas twine around the brims. Since the plants in here don’t need water I added the battery operated fairy lights to make it even more christmassy and added a white candle for a bit of warmth.

 

December's Urban Jungle Bloggers theme: Lights and plants.

 

Christmas Trolly

I found this trolly on the street back when I lived in London. It’s not very slick but works great for displaying plants, which gives it a rather bohemian air. I wanted my bohemian nook to look christmassy too, so I used old cardboard to create a fun mountainous backdrop (I saw this clever idea on pinterest a couple of years ago). With some candles lit, the setup looks undoubtedly festive, albeit a little unusual. I love it.

 

My eco-friendly christmas with plants and lights

 

Christmas Dinner

For our annual Berlin-family christmas dinner I wanted to create a super simple table setting that would be elegant but also a little striking. So I combined lots of candles in bottles and terracotta holders with cypress cuttings in glass jars. The table cloth is simply unbleached cotton linen to compliment the earthy tones. To add to the festive ambiance, I created a hanging “christmas tree chandelier” with home-made paper pendants that could hang above the table.

 

Simple table settings for an eco-friendly christmas

 

I got the idea for the hanging branches from this neat idea for an advents calendar. The pendants I folded from paper (using this tutorial) and just added some beads to round it off. I had so many paper corner cuttings from the folded pendants so I decided to turn them into little paper “leaves” to go with my wooden beads. It was really hard to get a good photo of the hanging branch, so I hope you can get a slight idea of what it looked like in the end.

 

Green christmas decor: plants and lights

 

Creating an eco-friendly plant-based christmas theme turned out to be much easier than I expected it would. Somehow the restrictions I had placed on myself (like not being allowed to buy any plastic or ready made decor) forced me to be a little more creative then usual and I had so much fun making it all.

 

I hope you enjoyed my contribution to this month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers post! Be sure to check out some of the other Plants and Light posts on Urban Jungle Bloggers and if you haven’t been there, both blogs by UJB creators Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff are well worth the visit!

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

 

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District Six – South African design in Berlin

Woven Raphia bags at the District Six store in Berlin

 

DISTRICT SIX

South African design in the heart of Berlin

 

December in Berlin can be rather gloomy. It’s rainy and misty and dark – a darkness that is heavy and black and I, for one, need a very good reason to leave the house. The usual way I coax myself outside is through christmas market shopping but recently I found another carrot onto the streets.

In the heart of all this winter grey, tucked away in Graefekiez, is a tiny store that one might easily miss if it wasn’t for the brilliant colours that beckon you inside. Colours that remind me of home; like the blood-orange-red of Pincushion Proteas, or Khaki green and Fynbos yellows or the cobalt hues of the Agulhas. The store is called District Six, and inside is a wonderful display of products designed and made in South Africa.

 

Prints and other curious design items at the District Six store in Berlin
Cool bags and rugsacks at District Six in Berlin

 

The vibrant store is owned by equally lively Caroline Adam, a Berlin-born graphic designer who fell in love with the expressive designs from South Africa and started selling them online back in 2013. Her concept store on Graefestraße 80, is now in it’s second year and stocks a myriad of products from South African brands like Skinny laMinx, Anne Hodgson, Pichulik and Soil Design (to name but a few).

 

Caroline Adam at her District Six store in Berlin
Beautiful botanical tote from Soil & Co at District 6 in Berlin

 

Inside, the store is a visual plethora of patterns, colour and textures; from bright blue raphia clutches and tan leather bags, to decorative woven vases and geometric metal side tables. The Ndebele inspired jewellery by Pichulik is super colourful and chic while the offbeat bucket stools of Pedersen + Lennard really bring home that humorous character and South African spirit.

 

Ndebele-style jewellery and vibrant cushions at District Six

 

Another favourite of mine is the exquisite wallpapers that you can order in-store or online. I really like the Liquorice and Lesotho stripes by Rene Rossouw, but the botanical prints from Soil Designs and Room 13 are just as enchanting. With the opportunity for custom made orders (minimum amount of only 3sqm) the only effort is in choosing between all the great designs.

 

Pedersen & Lennard bucket-stool from the Distirct-Six store in Berlin
Beautiful metal baskets and mohair throws at District Six

 

At District Six you’ll not only find time-less and high quality products but ones with a conscious and sustainable approach to manufacturing; be it socially fair or environmentally friendly.

So if you haven’t done your christmas shopping yet, maybe do it here! I think the woven Itawuli towels (or pretty much everything else in the store) will make excellent gifts. Or just get yourself one of the beautifully woven alpaka or mohair blankets for January, when–let’s face it–the dreary winter weather is sure to be worse. :)

Find it here:

Graefestraße 80
10967 Berlin
U8 UBhf Schönleinstraße
Bus M41

Opening hours (12-23 December):

Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 18:00
Sunday before christmas: 13:00 – 18:00

Or check out the details on their website here.

As always, thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post!

 

STORY + PHOTOS BY BARBARA CILLIERS

 

Plant pageant: Creative plant pots

Home made hanging planters for November's creative plant pots issue

 

 PLANT PAGEANT

Seven solutions for dressing up your plants

 

November’s theme for Urban Jungle Bloggers is all about creative plant pots. Having pretty plants is easy. Finding beautiful pots for them, not so much. So here’s a round-up of my seven favourite styles for displaying your leafy friends. Although many of my pots are either home made or second-hand finds, I’ve done a bit of e-window shopping to help you source your own. 

 

01. Glass

My favourite way to propagate cuttings is to do so in beautiful glass containers. This way the most precious part of the process – the sprouting of new roots – is magnified by the water and glass. I’m particularly partial to containers and vases that resemble old medicine or science jars. Maybe because they make me feel like a biologist, with my very important plant specimens. You can find a variety of different ones like these at Manufaktum. For the folks back home, Mr Price has a few that are quite cool. Off course, if you enjoy a drink every now and then, Monkey Gin and Hibiki Whisky come in pretty nifty bottles that in my opinion, are worth keeping in any event. 

 

Beautiful glass bottles, vases and jars for styling your plants

 

 02. Concrete

Concrete planters are a big trend right now, and with good reason. It’s such a beautiful material, and suits pretty much any style. Plus, judging by the myriad of DIY tutorials out there, it’s not even that hard to make. But if you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty; check out the new proudly South African Notation Design. They make a whole bunch of pretty concrete stuff. Their square planters are my favourite. I found the ones pictured below at Hellweg, but these white ones from Future Kept are also quite nice. 

 

Concrete plant pots

 

 03. Terrariums

Terrariums, if you don’t know, are glass containers, often sealable, that allow a water cycle to form due to the transparent glass and resulting condensation. They work really well for plants that require humid or moist environments. Also, it protects your plant if you have a ginger cat who loves to nibble on its leaves. I created my own terrarium using a glass dome from a cloche I found at Butlers. It fits neatly into a beautiful base I got as a gift. The other two are just upside down jars that fits into plant pots I already had. If you’re in the market for a real one though, I really like this one: Montra Vaas from Bolia.

 

Create your own terrariums with upside down jars and plant pots

 

 04. Fabric

My friend Meagie from Makers, gave me these beautiful fabric bags to dress up my plant pots. I love them cause they’re reversible – with completely different looks on either side. She has a great selection at her studio, so go stop buy if you’re in the area. Alternatively, apart from looking pretty, these washable paper ones, are multi-purpose.  

 

Fabric bags to dress up your plant pots

 

05. Hanging planters

I saw these beautiful wooden hanging plant pots at Anthropology and decided to try and make my own. For the macramé hanger I used this super easy to follow tutorial and appropriated an old wooden fruit bowl for the base. I also made the planter on the right, using the inside circle of an embroidery hoop wich, incidentally, fits neatly around those white socker pots you find at Ikea. I also really like these ones from Hallescheshaus.

 

Hanging planters as creative plant pot alternatives

 

06. Ceramics

This ceramic vase was one of the very first things I bought for my first home back when I was a student. I found it at a flea market and still love it. It’s rather small but works super well for displaying dried flowers and beautiful leaves. Maybe for my birthday or for christmas one day I could get one of these beautiful pieces, by the super talented Florian Gadsby. They are exquisite.

 

Ceramic vases

 

07. Terracotta

Next to being really affordable, terracotta plant pots are easy to find and work with any type of setting. Also, thanks to the friendly price tag, one is not as hesitant to venture a paintbrush toward their auburn exterior. I’ve done mine up in a few neutral tones and a spot of cobalt. Marij from My Attic has a great selection of pots that you can buy, if the thought of painting your own terrifies you.

 

Painted terracotta plant pots for a creative twist

That’s it for my November Urban Jungle Bloggers creative plant pots contribution. I hope you enjoyed my plant pageant! I’d love to hear which of my seven solutions are your favourite, or even if you have your own creative ideas for styling your plant buddies. Do let me know by leaving a comment below. And as always, thanks for reading!

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Check out some more awesome posts like these on Urban Jungle Bloggers, or visit the blogs of UJB creators;  Igor& Judith.

The Round House

Livingroom of The Round House in pretoria

 

THE ROUND HOUSE

 

When I was little, my mom used to drive us to Rietondale for icy early morning hockey tournaments. Often, I’d ask her to take the steep drive up Eastwood, so we could pass by the round house on top of the hill. Every time, I marvelled at the unique architecture, and busied my mind with thoughts of the interesting people whom I was certain must live there. For one must surely be curious to live in such an unusual home.

 

Sitsitso's visit to Pretoria Artist's hilltop home

Pretoria artist's art-filled home | sitsitso.com
Artistic home in Pretoria

 

Many years later I drove with a friend up that very hill, on our way to visit her mum. And to my surprise and utmost delight, we stopped at the round house. My friend had grown up there. This was their house. Going inside, I felt like I’d received a gift. For not only was I able to explore a place of childhood fantasy, but my reveries of a marvellous interior, had been largely correct. This house was indeed extraordinary.

 

Pretoria artist's quirky home
Beautiful piece by Pretoria based artist Margaret Nel | sitsitso.com
Mid-century modern pieces | sitsitso home-visit
A visit to Margaret Nel's curious Pretoria home

 

The Le Corbusier inspired “Round House”, was designed by german architect May von Langenau, for my friend’s late father and her artist mother, Margaret Nel. An exemplar of the so called International Style of architecture, the house is noted for its spherical shape (quite a novelty at the time of construction in 1961) as well as the structure. Hoisted off the ground by supporting pilotis, the terrain extends under the house in true Le Corbusier fashion. With a radial layout instead of load bearing walls, the space provides spectacular views of the surrounding Magalies mountains.

 

Pretoria artist quirky bedroom

The quirky bedrooms of the round house in Pretoria
Pretoria-Artist's-eccentirc-home

 

But if the view or the structure does not amaze you, the interior will. Nel has done an incredible job at curating the space. Every detail has been carefully thought out, every piece telling its story. Old iron hospital beds, -trollies and -lockers add to an industrial theme that feels surprisingly warm and modern thanks to accompanying second-hand, mid-century pieces sourced at great length by Margaret.

M

Art filled home of Pretoria artist Margaret Nel | sitsitso
Curated artwork and details that tell a story | sitsitso

 

An interesting dialogue between the decor and artwork is evident throughout the interior. Among the works of esteemed artists like Claudette Schreuder and Diane Victor, peculiar artefacts like plastic dolls and dinasours, wooden sculptures and vintage mannequins, transform the house into an artwork itself.

The round house in Pretoria

Curios details of the round house in Pretoria
Artist's Margaret Nel's home is filled with beautiful pieces by the artist

 

The clever displays feel like a running commentary of artistic expression. It’s at the same time sensitive and quirky; a dualism of sorts, between a bright and colourful South African vernacular, and a muted European design sensibility. Nel’s own work is on display as well. Pieces from her “Best Before” series (oversized life-like renderings of meat and confectionary wrapped in plastic and styrofoam) continues the dualistic notions, in this instance, of preservation and decay. 

 

The round house in pretoria

 

The house itself feels, as it were, like a juxtaposition. It’s at once classic and modern, off-beat and stylish. And so in answer to my childhood daydreams, the round house is undoubtedly eccentric. An elegant expression of Margaret Nel’s keen design sensibility, her prowess as an artist and her fine sense of humour.

Pretoria artist's eccentric round house in Pretoria | sitsitso.com

Some of Margaret Nel's artwork from her home in Pretoria | sitsitso
Margaret Nel's round house in Pretoria

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